David Kirkpatrick

September 10, 2010

Good news from the U.S. Court of Appeals

Federally funded stem cell research back in business. Of course it’s stupid this is even a issue, much less a political football. I wrote out, and deleted, two sentences of snark about christianist theocons, but maybe those thoughts are better left to your imagination. Let’s just say I think the groups pushing against stem cell research are a serious threat to my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and everyone would be better off if they could just form their own society on an island somewhere and institute whatever manner of holy book law they wanted to live under.

From the link:

A federal appeals court here ruled Thursday that federal financing of embryonic stem cell research could continue while the court considers a judge’s order last month that banned the government from underwriting the work.

The ruling by the United States Court of Appeals could save research mice from being euthanized, cells in petri dishes from starving and scores of scientists from a suspension of paychecks, according to arguments the Obama administration made in the case.

It could also allow the National Institutes of Health to provide $78 million to 44 scientists whose research the agency had previously agreed to finance.

The stay also gives Congress time to consider legislation that would render the ban, and the court case behind it, largely moot, a prospect that some embattled Democrats have welcomed. Despite staunch opposition by some critics, embryonic stem cell research is popular, and a legislative fight on the issue could prove a tonic for Democrats battling a tough political environment.

April 9, 2009

The right, culture war and white flags

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:54 pm

Has the political right conceded the battle for culture? Ron Baily at Reason’s Hit & Run thinks so in a post referencing DC Examiner political editor Chris Stirewalt.

I agree in so much as I argued for cultural moderation at NewMajority and pointed out social conservatism is a losing political stance for the GOP.

But I have no illusions that the far-right rump of the GOP has surrendered any cultural ground. If anything they’ve retrenched into positions that further marginalize their impact on both culture and politics. Even if they are still fighting the battle, the war is over and cultural conservatives have lost. Among some of the less rabid there has been a few bleats of wistfulness, but nothing approaching concessi0n just yet.

From the link the in the first graf:

In April last year, I argued that the Fourth Great Awakening was over and that America was moving into a “New Age of Reason.” Historians recognize “Great Awakenings” as periods of rising religious enthusiasm that provoke spasms of political activity in the name of enforcing Christian morals. The fourth such spasm began in the 1970s and, as Stirewalt notes, is just about played out. In my article I cited evidence for the end of this most recent awakening including:

(1) Congress’ interviention in the tragic Terry Schiavo case polls showed Americans disapproved of Washington’s intervention by almost 2 to 1 in 2005;

(2) Animus towards gays is receding. The Supreme Court’s 2003 decision finding sodomy laws unconstitutional was supported by 74 percent Americans.  The same poll also found Americans opposed state laws regulating private, sexual relations between opposite-sex married couples (87 percent) and same-sex domestic partners (82 percent). In 1996 only 27 percent of Americans approved of same-sex marriages. By May 2007, 46 percent did, and 62 percent of those under age 35 favored them.

(3) Attempts to restrain biomedical progress in the name of religious values are receding too. By 2007 a Gallup poll found that 60 percent of Americans favor embryonic stem cell research.

(4) The Christian marketing Barna Group finds that only 60 percent of 16-to-29-year-olds identify themselves as Christians. By contrast, 77 percent of Americans over age 60 call themselves Christian. That is “a momentous shift,” the firm’s president told the Ventura County Star. “Each generation is becoming increasingly secular.”